McDermott to become 86th Wallabies captain, Fa'amausili earns first start

Wed, Aug 2, 2023, 9:27 PM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
Tate McDermott has been named to captain Australia for the first time. Photo: Getty Images
Tate McDermott has been named to captain Australia for the first time. Photo: Getty Images

Bundaberg-born Tate McDermott will become the 86th Wallabies captain when he leads the side out against New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday afternoon.

Skippering a starting side with just 277 Test caps, the 24-year-old will link with Carter Gordon in the halves for the second consecutive week, and take over leading the team from Allan Alaalatoa who suffered a ruptured Achilles last weekend.

Melbourne-born Pone Fa’amausili will instead start at tighthead prop, earning his first run-on at Test level. He’ll combine with hooker David Porecki and Angus Bell who had a standout performance at the MCG last Saturday night.

Richie Arnold comes back into the starting side to partner Nick Frost in the second row, while Fraser McReight returns at openside flanker, with Tom Hooper shifting to the blindside and Rob Valetini at number eight.

An unchanged backline sees Samu Kerevi and Jordan Petaia continue their midfield connection at inside and outside centre respectively, with Marikia Koroibete and Mark Nawaqanitawase on the wings. Andrew Kellaway will again wear the number 15 jersey as fullback.

Jordan Uelese will bring energy as the finishing hooker, with James Slipper in line to equal Adam Ashley-Cooper’s record of 32 Tests against New Zealand as the finishing loosehead, while Zane Nonggorr will earn his second cap at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Will Skelton swaps roles with Arnold in the second row as the finisher, with Rob Leota to cover the backrow positions.

Experienced pair Nic White and Quade Cooper will again steer the team in the latter stages of the match, while Izaia Perese will provide spark across the backline.

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones said: “Tate’s got all the attributes to be a great captain of his country and there’s no doubt it will be a proud moment for him and his family when he leads the team on Saturday night.”

“We started a regeneration as a team last week and now it’s about building on that with a new captain and a new era in Australian Rugby.

“On Saturday night in Dunedin we get an opportunity to continue our growth as a team.”

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Wallabies team to play New Zealand at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin on Saturday 5 August, 2:35pm NZST/12:35pm AEST
  1. Angus Bell (22 Tests)
  2. David Porecki (13 Tests)
  3. Pone Fa’amausili (4 Tests)
  4. Nick Frost (11 Tests)
  5. Richie Arnold (3 Tests)
  6. Tom Hooper (2 Tests)
  7. Fraser McReight (11 Tests)
  8. Rob Valetini (33 Tests)
  9. Tate McDermott (c) (24 Tests)
  10. Carter Gordon (3 Tests)
  11. Marika Koroibete (54 Tests)
  12. Samu Kerevi (44 Tests)
  13. Jordan Petaia (26 Tests)
  14. Mark Nawaqanitawase (5 Tests)
  15. Andrew Kellaway (22 Tests) Finishers
  16. Jordan Uelese (18 Tests)
  17. James Slipper (130 Tests)
  18. Zane Nonggorr (1 Test)
  19. Will Skelton (27 Tests)
  20. Rob Leota (15 Tests)
  21. Nic White (62 Tests)
  22. Quade Cooper (79 Tests)
  23. Izaia Perese (4 Tests)
2023 eToro Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Fixtures

Wallabies 12 defeated by South Africa 43 on Saturday 8 July at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Wallabies 31 defeated by Argentina 34, Saturday 15 July at CommBankStadium, Sydney

Wallabies 7 defeated by New Zealand 38 on Saturday 29 July at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

Wallabies v New Zealand, 2:35pm NZST/12:35pm AEST Saturday 5 August at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin